Background This study aimed to compare the ultrasonographic and histological features of the supraspinatus tendon (ST) and its peculiar appearance in contrast with the biceps brachii tendon.
Methods For this purpose, 19 non-lame dog cadavers were subjected to an ultrasonographic and histologic evaluation of both shoulders after postmortem examination.
Results Close to their insertion on the greater tubercle, all STs displayed a widened portion with a deep central hypoechoic area lacking a fibrillar pattern, when compared with its more proximal aspect and adjacent biceps brachii. Histologically this deep portion corresponded to poorly organised collagen bundles interspersed within a myxoid substance mainly composed of mucopolysaccharides. This central myxoid area with collagen disarray was responsible for the reduced echogenicity on ultrasound.
Conclusion The focal widening of the ST insertion and its central mucopolysaccharidic composition could be an anatomical adaptation to marked forces specifically applied to this tendon. However, the ultrasound and histological appearances are very similar to those described in tendinosis, which represents a confounding factor in diagnosing tendonitis at the insertion of the supraspinatus. In the absence of other ultrasonographic criteria of tendinopathy, a hypoechoic central area in the ST near its insertion should be considered normal.
- diagnostic imaging
- tendon pathophysiology
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.